How Apptis boosted revenue to nearly $1B

Contractor jumps 15 places on 2010 Top 100 list

Apptis Inc.’s solid revenue growth and ability to weather the current weak economy is the result of a company decision several years ago to aggressively cater to its government customers and concentrate on its core competencies of information and communications technology and program management, says Bert Notini, Apptis chairman and CEO.

Apptis ended 2009 with a trio of new federal contracts worth almost $200 million, which helped push the company up from No. 50 last year to No. 35 this year on the Top 100 list.

The company notched $826,790,863 worth of prime contracts in 2009 as measured by Washington Technology’s analysis of federal procurement data.

Apptis’ awards included a contract worth more than $134 million from the Defense Communications and Army Transmissions Systems for management, engineering, integration and acquisition of turnkey C4I systems worldwide.

The company, based in Chantilly, Va., also secured a five-year, $34 million contract from the Federal Aviation Administration for program planning, execution, and cost and financial assistance.

Apptis has been providing a range of services to FAA for a number of years and expanding its footprint in the agency’s air traffic control organization with an eye toward greater involvement in FAA’s NextGen infrastructure contracting, Notini said.

“A lot of that is being bid almost as we speak," he added. "There is a series of awards that are being made and that are under consideration by the FAA at the moment, and we’re active and very focused there to provide support."

The company’s third win, a $28.4 million Defense Department contract from the Defense Acquisition University, is for network engineering and information assurance services, help desk, desktop, and video teleconference support.

The Defense Information Systems Agency is Apptis’ leading client in the Defense Department. “We’ve been very active with our core customer, DISA, as they build out the new joint cyber command,” Notini said.

“We’re seeing ourselves being brought into other aspects of the [DISA] efforts to build out a more well-designed cyber infrastructure and architecture by other customers as well,” he added.

Apptis also includes the State Department among its major clients, managing State’s passport applications and identity management services.

“The Air Force is an area where we are very focused now on growing, in addition to the work we do with DISA and with the Army and the Joint Combatant Commands,” Notini said.

With that in mind, in April, Apptis recently hired retired Air Force Lieutenant General Michael Peterson as vice president of strategic initiatives for its Defense Department programs.

The former Air Force CIO will assist in developing technology solutions to meet the unique needs of the defense and national security agencies, Notini said.

Apptis also is positioned to respond well to such current hot IT issues as database protection and cybersecurity, Notini said, because several years ago, the company began investing in cloud technology with an eye toward bringing that technology to the federal market.

“Probably we’re a first mover in doing that,” Notini said. “We’ve been very active and have partnered very recently now with Amazon, which is the largest commercial cloud provider to come to market for federal government customers.”

In mid-2009, the two companies teamed up to pursue the GSA’s Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solicitation, which was then canceled and later reissued.

“Apptis and Amazon Web Services once again are teaming together to pursue the program,” said Tim May, senior vice president of business development at Apptis.

As part of its overall cloud strategy and as a requirement of the IaaS solicitation, Apptis is in the process of adding cloud services from Amazon Web Services to its GSA Schedule 70, he added.

The team also is working to ensure that the cloud computing services conform to the government's security requirements.

“The objective is to provide the federal government with the commercial cloud computing service offerings of [Amazon], coupled with a solution developed by Apptis that addresses the specific needs of the federal government,” May said.

Notini called the cloud initiative “a big push for us going forward.”

As a result, he said, he expects 2010 to be another good growth year for Apptis.

“We continue to see growth across a couple of different matrices, deepening relationships with our current customers, growth in both size and range of talent in our overall workforce, and of course in revenue and earnings,” he said.

Asked about the possibility of an initial public offering, Notini said he is content with Apptis’ current status as a private company.

“We are 99.9 percent focused on just growing,” he said. “We have acquired some businesses in the past, but we have not been living off acquisitions.”

However, if the time comes when “additional access to capital will help us grow faster and meet our customer needs,” Notini added, “then we’d certainly look at what the alternatives are from a public market perspective.”

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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